The hospital had become so crowded that I ordered Senior Surgeon Ravenel to establish a depot for the sick and slightly wounded in the sand-hills, and to send all such there from time to time, which was done.
About 11 a.m., the left 10-inch columbiad was entirely disabled, being struck by a projectile which knocked off the right trunnion and shattered the carriage.
In the afternoon, the elevating screw of the 32-pounder on sea face was struck and so badly bent that it could not stand over one or two shots more. Under cover of this artillery and sharpshooting fire, the enemy steadily pushed on his approaches and knocked away most of the sand-bag protections intended to cover our sharpshooters.
About 4.30 p.m. dispatches from General Ripley directed me to prepare for an attack on Cumming's Point during the night. I immediately sent my adjutant-general to order Major Gardner, whose regiment (the Twenty-seventh Georgia) was supporting Cumming's Point, to assemble his regiment there at early dark, and make dispositions to repel a boat attack, consulting with the engineer in charge Lieutenant Stiles. At dark I sent him two field howitzers, with detachments from Kanapaux's light artillery and 70 men from Twenty-fifth South Carolina, as support to his forces. The beach was picketed by 50 men from Twenty-eighth Georgia. As the detachment of 50 men from Twenty-eighth Georgia was starting from Wagner, Captain Haines, commanding, and Lieutenant Blum, of Twenty-fifth South Carolina, standing by him, were killed by a mortar shell. This was a sad loss, but Captain Adams was detailed to supply Captain Haines' place, and the detachment proceeded. This mortar fire continued briskly through the night, directed mainly upon the left of the battery and roads leading to the rear. The fire of rifled guns slackened in the last part of the night, but was also kept up.
So many men were killed, wounded, and stunned in the left salient that I finally left a guard there of 20 men, with supports at short distance. I inclose list* of the casualties during the day and early part of the night, marked A.
At 10 p.m. Major Gardner wrote me that after putting his men (234 in all) in position at and near Cumming's Point, he found the force too small; "but I shall hold the place it if is a possibility." Deeming it unwise to weaken Wagner further, I relied upon the unyielding courage of Major Gardner and his men to hold the point, and was fully justified.
About midnight, the enemy came up in some fifteen to twenty barges from Light-House Creek, gliding noiselessly along with muffled oars. Captain H. R. Lesesne, commanding Battery Gregg, first observed them, and the whole force was put rapidly in position, and opened fire on them as they came to about 175 yards from our battery. They seemed much confused at this prompt fire, calling out, "Don't shoot, we are friends." Finding this useless, they pushed on, firing shell and shrapnel from their boat howitzers, with some musketry fire. Their commanding officer's order of "Forward, men!" was several times hear, but disheartened by our vigorous reception when they had reasonably expected to surprise us, they hurried off in about twenty minutes after the affair began. Captain Lesesne twice fired into them with one 10-inch columbiad, double charged with canister, and thinks he did considerable execution, though, unfortunately, he wounded several of our men at the same time.